Medial Epicondylitis commonly known as Golfer’s elbow is a painful condition occurring from repeated muscle contractions in the forearm that leads to inflammation and microtears in the tendons that attach to the medial epicondyle. The medial epicondyle is the bony prominence that is felt on inside of the elbow.
Medial epicondylitis and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) are similar except that medial epicondylitis occurs on the inside of the elbow and lateral epicondylitis occurs on the outside of the elbow. Both conditions are a type of tendonitis which literally means “inflammation of the tendons”.
Signs and symptoms of medial epicondylitis can include the following:
Medial epicondylitis is usually caused by overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons that control wrist and finger movement but may also be caused by direct trauma such as with a fall, car accident, or work injury.
Medial epicondylitis is commonly seen in golfer’s, hence the name Golfer’s elbow, especially when poor technique or unsuitable equipment is used when hitting the ball. Other common causes include any activity that requires repetitive motion of the forearm such as: painting, hammering, typing, raking, pitching sports, gardening, shoveling, fencing, and playing golf.
Medial epicondylitis should be evaluated by an orthopedic specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis includes
Your physician will recommend conservative treatment options to treat the symptoms associated with medial epicondylitis. These may include the following:
If conservative treatment options fail to resolve the condition and symptoms persist for 6 -12 months, your surgeon may recommend surgery to treat medial epicondylitis. The goal of surgery is to remove the diseased tissue around the inner elbow, improve blood supply to the area to promote healing, and alleviate the patient’s symptoms.
Surgery is performed under local or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision over the medial epicondyle area, move the soft tissues aside so as to clearly see the area where tendons meet the epicondyle. Then the tendon is cut and any scar tissue and bony spurs will be removed. Finally the tendon will be re-attached to the bone with sutures and incision will be closed.
Following the surgery your surgeon may recommend you to practice certain measures so as to improve the outcomes of surgery and to fasten the process of healing. Occupational therapy and rehabilitation procedures may also be ordered.
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